Friday, March 25, 2011

Teaching Christian Witness

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Teaching about Christian history is important to me. I want my children to know what being a Christian can cost. I want them to know what it has cost many and what it still costs today. Being a Christian in America isn't hard. It costs little, if anything, most of the time. Perhaps this will change sooner than later. We are promised tribulation in this life, not from God, but from man. I want them to be prepared for this eventuality. Will they see physical persecution of Christians in America in their lifetimes? Will I? Only God knows.

After studying the deaths of the Apostles, who can help but be inspired to die for God's Word, should circumstances demand it? Who could bear the thought of denying our Lord? The lives of Polycarp, Tyndale, Luther, Bonhoeffer, Jim Elliot, and others show that the Holy Spirit gives grace in times of need.

"And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And every one who speaks a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious how or what you are to answer or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." Luke 12: 8-12

Here, in no particular order, are some of the resources that I either use, have used or plan to use to keep my children aware of past and current Christian reality.

The Religion of Peace (may show graphic images, I read this myself and verbally share some stories with my older children, but never all!)

Stephan's Test of Faith (available on Netflix instant play)

Jesus Freaks Vol. I and II (we read through these aloud in school)

VOM Torchlighters (also available on Netflix at the moment)

21st Century Martyrs (a collection of true stories missing from the nightly news)

Trial and Triumph (used in Ambleside Online)

Voice of the Martyrs (we get their free magazine monthly, along with the quarterly Kids of Courage insert)

Foxe's Book of Martyrs

Martyr's Mirror (similar to Foxe's Book; free online)

Have you any resources to share? Please add them in the comments!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hans Christian Anderson

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Having finished "Winnie the Pooh" and "The House at Pooh Corner" with Missy and Troubles, I have decided to enjoy various Hans Christian Anderson books with them. We have lots to choose from and they are such great stories!

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This morning we read "The Woman With The Eggs". Troubles laughed at her at the end and said, "Prideful, greedy woman!"

You can get many of these classic stories online. Here's one source and another. I also found some free audio recordings!

ETA: I found "Seven Tales by H.C. Anderson" by Eva Le Gallienne illustrated by Maurice Sendak at a used book store today. Hooray for Maurice Sendak illustrations!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Shakespeare Books

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We've read a bit of Shakespeare around here in the past, but The Bard has been newly discovered lately. Last year, we read several selections from "Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare" by Edith Nesbit. Ambleside Online introduced us to this great book. After reading a play from Beautiful Stories, we re-read it from "Lamb's Tales of Shakespeare". The Lambies got the main ideas and didn't get exposed to the more adult themes in some of the plays. However, they didn't LOVE any of the stories.

Recently, my friend Veee introduced me to the Bruce Colville adaptations. Hooray! Beautiful pictures to go along with well written, simplified stories! So far we have A Mid-Summer's Night Dream, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Winter's Tale and MacBeth. I'll certainly be watching for the remaining ones. Get them soon, as several seem to be out of print.

A few other favorite Shakespeare books for varying ages....

The Bard of Avon by Diane Stanley
The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood (there are others in the series, but I haven't read them)
William Shakespeare and the Globe by Aliki
Welcome to the Globe by Peter Chrisp

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Flower Mini-Unit

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Today we are studying flowers. It's a lovely 74 today and it seems like the perfect thing to learn about for "F".

Coloring Page

Handwriting Page

We observed the lettuce plants, the pea flowers and the sprouting carrots in our garden.

We took a walk and identified the many flowers gracing the neighbors yards. We took pictures till the camera battery died! All the trees are in bloom and there are hundreds of bees working on the blossoms. What a nice way to tie in previous lessons!

We learned the different parts of flowers.

We read:
From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
Flowers
Wildflowers of California's Central Valley and Sierra

Thumbprint flowers would have been a fun activity, too, but we didn't have time to get to it. GirlofGod made the children a flower balloon, instead.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Earwig Mini-Unit

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Earwigs are today's topics! These little creatures are often seen but little studied. Did you know it's very easy to tell males from females? Just check out their pincers!

How to Recognize an Earwig

Earwig coloring page

"E" in sign language coloring sheet

We collected several earwigs from our yard and observed them in a jar. We found one "Big Queen" earwig and five tiny ones.

We talked about what earwigs eat (plant matter and occasionally other bugs) and what they do not (whatever is in people's ear canals). We discussed their life cycle: how they lay eggs, protect them and care for the nymphs that hatch and how they grow.

We sang the ABC song, and our version, too, which is personalized with the units we have done. We talked about the many sounds of "E". We also played with the Pattern Blocks and talked of shapes and colors. The girls built and built with those blocks!

A fun day was had all around. In fact, the little darling above wanted to take the earwig specimens home, believe it or not!